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Federal troops have not been used to guard against election violence since the years after the Civil War when the Army was stationed across the South to put down the Ku Klux Klan and protect Black voters, said Joshua Kastenberg, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and military judge who teaches military law at the University of New Mexico School of Law.

“Presidents have historically been very reluctant to call out the Army. They’ve used the authority briefly and responsibly,” he said. But, he cautioned, there are almost no checks on the president’s power to send in troops. Challenges in the courts are so slow that they are often decided long after an executive order is carried out, he said, and Congress has no standing to challenge what the White House deems an insurrection.

“A president could issue a ridiculous insurrection proclamation or violate the Posse Comitatus Act, and the people would have very little recourse,” he said.

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The New York Times


Printed edition November 3, 2020, Section A, Page 21

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